About the Author

Joseph M. Getty

Joseph M. Getty

Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland


Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who violated more than a dozen Rules of Professional Conduct by filing a frivolous lawsuit, failing to file complete documents in a timely manner with the Orphans’ Court, disobeying orders from Orphans’ Court, lying to bar counsel and mismanaging his trust accounts?

Holding: Disbarrment is the appropriate sanction for a lawyer who failed to submit a timely, complete, and accurate inventory of estate assets and administrative account of the estate, failed to submit a petition for personal representative’s commissions and attorney’s fees before disbursing fees to himself and the personal representative, and, after the issuance of Orphans’ Court orders to do so, failed to return estate funds. Combined with filing a lawsuit against the previous personal representative of the estate, and failing to properly manage his trust accounts, the Court issued the sanction of disbarment.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct Rules ("MLRPC") 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.5(a) (Fees), 1.7 (Conflict of Interest) 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 3.1(a) (Meritorious Claims and Contentions), 3.3(a) (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 3.4(c) (Fairness to Opposing Party and Attorney), 4.4 (Respect for Rights of Third Persons), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a), (c), and (d) (Misconduct), and Maryland Rules 19-407, 19-408, and 19-410 (formerly Maryland Rules 16-606.1, 16-607, and 16-609)

Citation 461 Md. 189 (2018)

  • Decided on .
Attorney Grievance defense attorney specializes in defending lawyers in disciplinary proceedings before the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the D.C. Bar's Board on Professional Responsibility involving professional misconduct, legal ethics, disbarment, suspensions of law licenses, petitions for disciplinary action, reprimands and sanctions for unethical conduct. If you receive a letter from Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox, or from any attorney disciplinary board in Maryland or the District of Columbia, retain experienced attorneys with expertise in lawyer discipline and breach of ethics cases to avoid sanctions for professional misconduct. We help lawyers avoid disbarment, suspension, reprimands, censure and informal admonitions by drafting responses to client grievances and ethical complaints; representing lawyers in peer reviews, evidentiary hearings, and oral arguments before the BPR and the Court of Appeals; filing petitions to reinstate an attorney's license to practice law; conducting law firm ethical compliance audits; and drafting legal ethics opinions to protect lawyers from ethics charges. In many cases, disciplinary proceedings may be dismissed, dismissed with a warning, or result in a conditional diversion agreement with Bar Counsel to rectify misconduct. Lawyers may need help in managing their law firm attorney escrow IOLTA trust account and complying with attorney trust accounting rules to avoid charges of ethical misconduct. Do not represent yourself in responding to an attorney grievance, law firm client complaint, or other allegation of ethical impropriety. Attorney grievance defense counsel may help you comply with legal ethics rules, avoid sanctions like suspension or disbarment, and avoid future attorney grievances.


By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and Irwin R. Kramer who are responsible for the content of this informational website.   This website is designed for lawyers faced with attorney grievances. As cases do differ, past performance does not guarantee future results.